ISKCON Derire Tree's Posts (14153)

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As the United States of America was established by its founding fathers, Srila Prabhupada founded the International Society for Krnsa Consciousness and therefore he is its Founder-Acharya. His goal was to establish a society by which to bring people of the world to Krsna.

In the beginning days of America the pioneers had to depend upon their own determination, strength and faith, to establish themselves in “the new world”. They saw this land as a place of opportunity where each person could pursue the goal of his life, freely worshiping the Lord and maintaining his own individuality. The high ideals which fueled this mentality attracted many people throughout the world. Thus America grew and grew and grew, until those upon whose hopes and struggles established this nation were long gone into the annals of history.

We remember the founding fathers and the principles of freedom and government, which is the foundation of America. But, no one remembers the thousands who gave their lives endeavoring to protect these fundamental laws and survive their application.

With humble beginnings and assisted by a population of discontented youths, who refused to accept a bleak future of narrow-mindedness and materialism, Srila Prabhupada established his society. Today we are celebrating the Golden Jubilee of ISKCON. As the pioneers struggled to preserve and establish the principles of The United States, so did Srila Prabhupada’s faithful disciples dedicate their lives to assisting him in every way possible, to spread the Sankirtan Movement, thus laying the foundation of Krsna consciousness around the world.

Many of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples have already left this planet, reaping the results of their selfless service, while others are in the last stages of life. The Hare Krsna Movement is now known world wide with hundred of centers situated on all continents. Lord Caitanya’s prediction that His holy name will be heard all over the world, has come to pass.

There are no barriers preventing those whose hearts have been melted by the holy name to serve the Supreme Lord of all material and spiritual worlds. Srila Prabhupada succeeded in his mission and his disciples leave this world witnessing the results of his miraculous work. We must keep the doors of this movement open, because it represents our eternal and natural condition. As we remember our own discontent and search for the Absolute Truth, there can be no compromise in following and preserving Srila Prabhupada’s instructions. ISKCON is much more that a few devotees ringing bells in temples far away from the sacred birthplace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Continuing Srila Prabhupada’s mission is to remind all souls rotting in this material world of their true identity as the servants of Krsna. Once remembering this, innate love for all living entities awakens, and pride in one’s limited vision and partizan attachments, dissolves like fog when the sun appears to spread its magnanimous rays.

Now America has millions of people and everyone goes on with their personal lives. If someone dies or is born or gets sick or grows a garden or plays the french horn in a symphony orchestra – not everyone hears about it or even cares. There are communities, towns, cities and states, functioning within themselves. Due to the multitudes everything has changed. So too has this happened to the International Society for Krsna Consciousness. We grew to a few thousand while Srila Prabhupada was still present in his vapoo form. Yet somehow there was still intimacy. Though there was no Facebook and no internet it did not take long for the ISKCON grapevine to send news around the world. ISKCON has grown exponentially. Srila Prabhupada’s books are all over the world in many languages. And the Hare Krsna Mahamantra is sung by hundreds and thousands of conditioned souls on this earth planet. Whether they understand its depth of meaning and the great benefit they are incurring just by uttering the holy name, is another thing. The transcendental vibration of Hare Krsna is purifying the world and saving millions of souls by giving an opportunity for devotional service in this life and the next.

Srila Prabhupada is one of the branches on the Lord Caitanya tree. He is the divine incarnation of the Servitor Godhead, who established the Yuga Dharma in the midst of this age of darkness. He will and must be remembered for the next 10,000 years. Let his glories be sung by all who enter within the realm of ISKCON. For if this stops and Srila Prabhupada is forgotten, the doors of his great house will surely close.

On the beach there are many sand plants. When one is pulled out by the roots, it makes a hole. This hole lasts only moments before it is filled by the surrounding sand. Finally there is no sign that a plant was ever there. We will leave this world unknown and forgotten by history, for this is the plight of all souls in this world. We are all fated for our place upon the list of names.

What should we do when we find that our place has been taken and the world has now moved on without us? We who walked with Srila Prabhupada are still being watched. How does one act who has causelessly been gifted with devotional service by the greatest of all masters? We are all individuals and inclined to perform different services for the Lord. The validity of this must be acknowledged. We all have a right to our intimate relationship with Sri Guru and Gauranga. Not only a right- an absolute duty to stand in the glory of our own selves, and with dignity take our individual places at Srila Prabhupada’s lotus feet.

I pray the holy name of Krsna will always remain on my tongue and pure devotional service, as instructed by my spiritual master AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada will continue to bloom within my heart.


Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=30098

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In Bhagavad-gītā Lord Kṛṣṇa describes four kinds of pious men (su-kṛtinaḥ) begin to render devotional service unto Him – the distressed (ārto), the desirer of wealth (arthārthī), the inquisitive,( jijñāsuḥ), and he who is searching for knowledge of the Absolute (jñānī)’

catur-vidhā bhajante māṁ janāḥ su-kṛtino ’rjuna
ārto jijñāsur arthārthī jñānī ca bharatarṣabha (BG 7.16)

Dhruva Mahārāja was arthārthī Bhakta- desirous of wealth. He wanted a kingdom bigger than his grandfather Lord Brahmā. When he was insulted by his step mother Suruci, the favorite queen of Uttānapāda, he cried and went to his is mother Sunīti who gave him instructions to approach Lord Kṛṣṇa. She said “Lord Kṛṣṇa is so kind to His devotees that if you go to Him, then the combined kindness of millions of mothers like me will be surpassed by His affectionate and tender dealings. When everyone else fails to mitigate ones misery, Kṛṣṇa is able to help the devotee”. With fixed determination as befits a kṣatriya, Dhruva Mahārāja went to forest to seek the shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In the forest he met Nārada Muni who wanted to test Dhruva’s determination tried to advise him saying that: “My dear boy, you are only a little boy whose attachment is to sports and other frivolities. Why are you so affected by words insulting your honor? In my opinion severe austerities to see Kṛṣṇa face to face are not possible for any ordinary man. It is very difficult to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Executing many types of austerities, many mystic yogīs were unable to find the end of the path of God realization. For this reason, my dear boy, you should not endeavor for this; it will not be successful. It is better that you go home. Unfortunate incident occurred because of your own past deeds. Take it as working of Māyā and also it is Lord Kṛṣṇa’s mercy.” Dhruva Mahārāja replied “With due respect, your instructions are good but I am so ignorant that your philosophy does not touch my heart. All I want is to occupy exalted position greater than even my grandfather Lord Brahmā. If you will oblige, kindly advise me of an honest path to follow by which I can achieve the goal of my life.” Nārada Muni, upon hearing the words of Dhruva Mahārāja, and taking advantage of his determination became very compassionate toward him, and instructed him to go to Madhuvana forest situated on the bank of Yamunā (Kālindī) and to completely absorb himself in devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa, chanting the twelve-syllable mantra ‘Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya’ and worshiping the Lord”. When Dhruva Mahārāja was thus advised by the great sage Nārada, he circumambulated Nārada Muni, his spiritual master, and offered him respectful obeisances and went to Madhuvana. Following the instruction rigidly Dhruva Mahārāja got the audience of Lord Viṣṇu in six months.

Sukadeva Goswami gives similar instructions to Parīkṣit Mahārājathat a person who has broader intelligence, whether he be full of all material desire ( sakāma) or without any material desire (akāma), or desiring liberation or (mokṣa-kāma), must by all means worship the supreme whole, the Personality of Godhead with great expedience (tīvreṇa) (SB 2.3 10). Dhruva Mahārāja was sarva kāma Bhakta. He performed tīvra bhakti. By successfully executing his spiritual master Nārada Muni’s instructions Dhruva Mahārāja saw the Lord (an incarnation known as Pṛśnigarbha) face to face in the same form he was practicing meditation on the Supersoul within himself the plenary portion of Kṛṣṇa as Viṣṇu – with four hands, holding conchshell, wheel, club and lotus flower.

Having darsan of the Lord he paid obeisances falling flat at Lord’s lotus feet. He wanted to greet the Supreme Lord with prayerful words but he hesitated feeling too young and inexperienced to speak eloquently. Understanding Dhruva Mahārāja’s awkwardness Lord touched boy’s forehead with conch shell empowering him to have full awareness of the Absolute Truth. There after Dhruva maharaja instantly thanked Him and understood that Lord’s blessing would grace his words. Thus he offered beautiful prayers. Srila Prabhupāda comments that to glorify or offer prayers unto the Supreme, one needs the Lord’s mercy. One cannot write to glorify the Lord unless one is endowed with His causeless mercy. First he prayed to the Lord that he was satisfied just by having Lord’s darsan: sthānābhilāṣi tapasi sthito ‘haṁ, tvāṁ prāptavān deva-munindra guhyam kācam vicinvann api divya-ratnaṁ, svāmin krtārtho ‘smi varaṁ na yāce

O my Lord, because I was seeking an opulent material position, I was performing severe types of penance and austerity, now I have got You, who are very difficult for the great demigods, saintly persons and kings to attain. I was searching after a piece of a glass, but instead I have found a most valuable jewel. Therefore I am so satisfied that I do not wish to seek any benediction from You. (Nardiya Purana). Dhruva experienced the Lord as the personified form of benediction, by which he could understand the nature of the topmost desire i.e. to become a devotee with no other desire but to please Kṛṣṇa. He came to conclusion that although he had worshiped the Lord to gain material benediction, the worship itself was the greatest benediction. Srila Prabhupada comments: Dhruva Mahārāja was cognizant of the -defective nature of his own devotional service. Such adulterated devotees can never see the Personality of Godhead face to face. He therefore, felt very grateful for the causeless mercy of the Lord. And he prayed for protection from the Lord so that he might not be misled or deviated from the path of devotional service by material desires. Dhruva Mahārāja has realized that serving Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet is much more relish able than the enjoyment of even a hugely opulent kingdom in the material world. So he prays, to Viṣṇu as the protector of one on the devotional path, similar to a cow protecting her calf. And what is Viṣṇu protecting the devotee from? Answer is protection from himself – ‘from his own defective nature’.Dhruva’s last prayer sums up his previous materialistic attitude and his present devotional one: satyāśiṣo hibhagavaḿs tavapāda–padmam āśīs tathānubhajataḥ puruṣārtha–mūrteḥ apy evamaryabhagavānparipātidīnān vāśreva vatsakamanugraha-kātaro ‘smān (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 4.9.17)

“My Lord, O Supreme Lord, You are the supreme personified form of all benediction. Therefore, for one who abides in Your devotional service with no other desire, worshiping Your lotus feet is better than becoming king and lording it over a kingdom. That is the benediction of worshiping Your lotus feet. To ignorant devotees like me, You are the causelessly merciful maintainer, just like a cow, who takes care of the newly born calf by supplying milk and giving it protection from attack”. This verse is explained by Sridhara Swami as: ‘O Supreme Personality of Godhead (bhagavān) Your form (mūrteḥ) is the Supreme bliss and highest goal of life (puruṣārtha). Your lotus feet (pāda-padmam) are the true benediction (satyāśiṣo) and are a benediction for greater than other benediction (āśīs) such as ruling over a kingdom. This is right conclusion because for the devotees who are worship You (anubhajataḥ) without ulterior motive. You are the highest goal of life. O, Master (arya) even though this is so, You still maintain and protect poor (dīnān) people like us (‘smān). A Kṛṣṇa conscious person can see Kṛṣṇa in the heart of everyone as stated in the smṛti : ātatatvāc ca mātṛtvāc ca ātmā hi paramo hariḥ. The Lord, being the source of all beings, is like the mother and the maintainer. As the mother is neutral to all different kinds of children, the supreme father (or mother) is also. (BG 6.29 Purport)

The Lord is so merciful that not only does He fulfill the desires of a devotee who is driven by ignorance and desires for material benefit, but He also gives such a devotee all protection, just as a cow gives milk to a newly born calf. Lord is bhakta-vatsala. Even Dhruva Mahārāja did not want any Kingdom but any way the Lord awarded Dhruvaloka to him (Lord Pṛśnigarbha had created it for Dhruva maharaja so that he can later reside there). Dhruvaloka — polestar is an eternal Vaikuntha planet, a planet that was never resided upon by any conditioned soul. Even Brahmā, being the topmost living creature within this universe, was not allowed to enter the Dhruvaloka. Not only that but Lord also granted that even before attaining Dhruvaloka he would reign on earth for 36,000 years without aging. The Lord then awarded Dhruva the ability to remember Him fully at the time of his death despite his having ruled as king surrounded by all material opulances for so many years.

Under Nārada Muni’s guidance Dhruva Maharaja has transformed powerful anger to focused determination. Now he reaped the fruit of his devotion (a great kingdom). But he was ashamed of the selfishness that had motivated his worship. The Lord certainly could have immediately taken him back to Godhead but He did not because Dhruva’s desire for revenge and vast material kingdom carried him those benedictions.

Therefore a devotee must be very sincere in his devotional service; then, although there may be many things wrong on the devotee’s part, Kṛṣṇa will guide him and gradually elevate him to the highest position of devotional service. One should simply pray to the Lord to be constantly engaged in His transcendental loving service.

Lord also predicted that Dhruva’s stepmother Suruci would suffer a reaction for her assault and would lose her only son Uttama burnt to death in forest fire. Suruci’s offense to Dhruva was committed before he had attained Lord’s darsan.

Therefore, one should take care when dealing with devotees, even if they do not appear advanced at the moment. It is dangerous to offend or insult a Vaiṣṇava or anyone for that matter.

Lord Kṛṣṇa is so affectionate and kind towards His devotee, especially to a devotee like Dhruva Mahārāja, who went to render devotional service in the forest alone at the age of only five years, that although the motive might be impure, the Lord does not consider the motive; He is concerned with the service. He is ‘bhāva grāhi janārdana’. If a devotee has a particular motive, the Lord directly or indirectly knows it, and therefore He does not leave the devotee’s material desires unfulfilled. When Dhruva Mahārāja became situated on the Vasudeva platform due to seeing the Lord face to face, all his material contamination was cleared. Dhruva Mahārāja regretted very much that he could not take seriously the instruction of his spiritual master Nārada Mini, and that his consciousness was therefore contaminated. He was adamant in asking him for something perishable, namely revenge against his stepmother for her insult, and possession of the kingdom of his father. Still, the Lord is so merciful that due to Dhruva‘s execution of devotional service He offered Dhruva the ultimate Vaiṣṇava goal. Dhruva Mahārāja also prayed to grant him an association of devotees. Srila Prabhupada writes: In other words, every one of us who is engaged in devotional service in Kṛṣṇa consciousness should be completely free from all material aspirations. Otherwise we will have to lament like Dhruva Mahārāja. Therefore, Maitreya Muni concludes describing Dhruva Mahārāja’s unique achievement. He characterizes a pure devotee’s equipoised attitude as: “always attached to honey of His lotus feet and says “those who are always attached to the honey of His lotus feet, are always satisfied in serving at the lotus feet of the Lord. In any condition of life, such persons remain satisfied, and thus they never ask the Lord for material prosperity. Srila Prabhupada in his purport elaborates that a devotee is always engaged in drinking the honey from the lotus feet of the Lord. The Lord’s feet are compared to the lotus, wherein there is saffron dust. Thus a devotee is always engaged in drinking the honey from the lotus feet of the Lord.

Unless one is freed from all material desires, he cannot actually taste the honey from the Lord’s lotus feet. One has to discharge his devotional duties without being disturbed by the coming and going of material circumstances.

Dhruva Mahārāja felt a deep regret to see how materially motivated he had been. His regret lasted even beyond his audience with Kṛṣṇa. For us we are faulty beings, and it takes time before we learn to offer our service in a pure way. We are not pure; we are defective. What make us so helpless is our misleading desires within our hearts. Despite Kṛṣṇa’s tender concern, He will not interfere with the free will of the living entity. To receive His mercy, we must reveal some level of sincerity or inclination toward Him. Kṛṣṇa provides His children space to grow as they will, yet remains loving towards them and prepared to help if they turn to Him. In Bhagavad Gita He says that He provides the intelligence by which we can return to Him. He also says that He provides what we lack and carries what we have, and that He is swift deliverer from the ocean of birth and death. If our main purpose in life is to attain bhakti, we should trust Kṛṣṇa to maintain our attempt.Kṛṣṇa is, after all, the causelessly merciful maintainer, just like a cow who gives milk and protection from attack. Cows are very affectionate, loving and caring to their calves. So much so that cow is prepared to give her life to protect her calf. Similarly, Kṛṣṇa exemplifies this tender concern toward His faltering bhaktas. He offers Himself to His devotees. His real nature is to reciprocate with His devotees. Kṛṣṇa’s supreme quality is His affection for His devotees, bhakta-vātsalya. The word vātsalya comes from vatsa, vatsa means “calf” or “dear child.” In the same way Kṛṣṇa is so loving and caring, so kind and compassionate to His devotees.

Kṛṣṇa maintains as well as fulfills the desires of enumerable materially engrossed jivas. Because He is responsible; He maintains all living entities, although He does it through His expansions and energies. However Kṛṣṇa Himself personally attends to relatively small group of souls who are interested in His direct love and protection. He exemplifies this tender concern toward His faltering bhaktas. That is His real nature to reciprocate with His devotees.

At the same time as the calf remains completely dependent on the mother and follow its mother without regard for where she is going. Then mother in turn shows even more tender concern for her calf. Similarly when we relate to Kṛṣṇa personally we receive His heart, His real nature and His desire to reciprocate with us. The pure devotional service in Kṛṣṇa consciousness cannot be had even by pious activity in hundreds and thousands of lives. kṛṣṇa-bhakti-rasa-bhāvitā matiḥ, janma-koṭi-sukṛtair na labhyate (CC Madhya 8.70). It can be attained only by paying one price — that is, intense greed to obtain it. tatra laulyam api mūlyam ekalaṁ. If it is available somewhere, one must purchase it without delay. krīyatāṁ yadi kuto ’pi labhyate. Therefore our main purpose in life should be to attain His bhakti. He promises that His devotee will never perish. ‘kaunteya pratijānihi na me bhaktah pranasyati’. He is protector of our Bhakti not our body or our possessions. We can’t make Him our body guard or watchman. We should pray that our bhakti or our attempts to progress in chanting and hearing may not be hampered. Any advancement in KC is Krishna’s gift to us. We should surrender Him whole heartedly knowing that He is our maintainer and protector. raksyati iti visvaso, goptrutve varan. In Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s words firm faith is required. krishna bhakti kaile sarva karma krta haya. By performing devotional service to Krishna all the things will be done automatically. Sometimes His devotee apparently seems to be suffering some misery but devotee considers as Lord’s special mercy for inducing him to completely let go of the material world and return home, back to Godhead. Thus the devotee, completely cleansed in heart, becomes fully absorbed in loving service to Kṛṣṇa and in the end returns to Him. He simply awaits the Lord’s mercy. He expects the Lord’s mercy (tat te ’nukampāṁ su-samīkṣamāṇo) and offers obeisances to the Lord with heart, words, and body (hṛd-vāg-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te). These two processes are so potent that they can bring the devotee back to Godhead. This way we should be exemplary in our behavior. Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said ‘dharma-sthāpana-hetu sādhura vyavahāra’ (CC Madhya 17.185 ) -“A devotee’s behavior establishes the true purpose of religious principles. “The behavior of a devotee is the criterion for all other behavior.”

Note: Some of the passages are excerptions taken from Satsvarupa dasa Goswami’s writings.

Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=69517

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By Madhava Smullen

First and second-generation kirtaniyas have created a new song dedicated to beloved ISKCON guru Bhakti Charu Swami, who passed away on July 4th. 

Second-generation devotee Nadiya Mani sings lead vocals and Prabhupada disciple Bada Haridas backing vocals on the epic nine-and-a-half-minute standalone single Ocean of Mercy, which was released on Friday July 17th to iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and Google Play. https://smarturl.it/oceanofmercy

The deeply moving, soul-stirring track presents the prayer Sri Gurvastakam by Visvanath Chakravarti Thakur in a unique style that combines elements of classical, New Age and meditation music. It has been described by Bada Haridas’ wife Kosarupa Dasi as “pure meditation.”

In a Facebook post about the release, Bada Haridas wrote, “Feelings of melancholy have pervaded the global Vaisnava family after the loss of my beloved Godbrother, His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami. Inspired by Maharaja’s surrendered life at the lotus feet of our spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, we dedicate this song to him and his followers.”

Bada Haridas also shared his translation of the song’s first verse, based on Srila Prabhupada’s explanation: “Just as clouds drink water from the ocean and shower their rain upon the parched earth, enlightened spiritual masters receive mercy from the ocean of mercy, Lord Sri Krishna, and shower that mercy on our burning hearts like a cooling rain.” 

Read more: https://iskconnews.org/nadiya-mani-and-bada-haridas-dedicate-new-song-to-bhakti-charu-swami,7441/

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7140924063?profile=RESIZE_400xIf one commits an offence, one has the duty to denounce that immediately; to denounce the offender. In the Caitanya Caritāmṛta, we have the story of how Gopāla Cāpāla became envious of Srivasa Thakura, who is a great devotee, and tried to diminish Srivasa Thakura’s prestige, due to which Gopāla Cāpāla then suffered leprosy as a result. He was then forced to stay outside the village as lepers are very contagious. Then one day, Gopāla Cāpāla met Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and fell at His feet and asked for relief. And Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “You are an offender of Srivasa. I will have you bitten by these germs for many millions of births.” So now we are seeing that the all-merciful Supreme Personality of Godhead has turned into a punishing Lord. He turns into a Lord who will have someone bitten for millions of births! Therefore, offending a devotee is described as the mad elephant offence. It is described to be the offence that can uproot one’s entire devotional creeper – the bhakti-latā-bija which is the seed of pure bhakti. So it is said about the seed of pure bhakti:

śravaṇa-kīrtana-jale karaye secana
(Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya Lila 19.152)

When it is watered by hearing and chanting, then it can sprout. But it is said that this criticising of the vaisnavas is the mad elephant which can uproot and destroy one’s entire garden.

Source: https://www.kksblog.com/2020/07/the-mad-elephant-offence/

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By Kadamba Kanana Swami 

The essence of the process that we are following in this movement is the chanting of the holy name. This process is the yuga dharma – the dharma (religion) for this age of Kali. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has made this chanting of the holy name widely available to us and also added his extra mercy. The holy name has been chanted widely throughout the millennia but in this particular millennia, there is the added mercy of the Lord himself. Therefore, now it is very easy and quick for us to chant Krsna’s name and attain the results.
It is described by Rupa Goswami that in other Kali yugas, there are also incarnations of Vishnu who teach harinam sankirtan. But because Vishnu is not the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, he cannot invest the name with the special mercy by which prema (love) is very quickly attained. So in those yugas, the chanting is going on, but it is difficult; the progress is slow. But now, the progress is very quick as the added mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is rapidly invoking Krsna prema.
In the first initiation, the main focus is the holy name – that is the essence! The spiritual master chants on the beads first to invest them with his blessings and the blessings of the entire parampara (disciplic succession), coming from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. It is then that he invests his special mercy on us. Therefore, even though one has been chanting before, where the mercy of Caitanya Mahaprabhu is still available to all, the spiritual master invokes the entire parampara’s prayers during an initiation, which is very powerful!

Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=61499

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7140914865?profile=RESIZE_400xAn interview with Giriraj Swami by the ISKCON Strategic Planning Office, July 9, 2020, via Facebook.

Gauranga Dasa: Hare Krishna. We welcome all the devotees who have joined this weekly care conversation, Vaishnava seva. This week we are very honored to have with us His Holiness Giriraj Swami Maharaja. We welcome His Holiness Giriraj Swami Maharaja, who is one of the most senior of Prabhupada’s disciples. He was very active on the GBC, and was one of the founders of ISKCON India, especially the Juhu temple. He spent many, many years serving Srila Prabhupada very closely, and has hundreds of remembrances of Srila Prabhupada, and he is just about to publish his book about the Juhu ISKCON temple.

Today our topic is “Srila Prabhupada as an Embodiment of Devotee Care.” So, thank you, Maharaja, for joining us. I would like to begin by asking, from your experiences with Srila Prabhupada, could you share any anecdote or exchanges in which he demonstrated care for the body or concern for the devotees’ health?

Giriraj Swami: There are a number of instances, some involving me and some involving others. One notable one involved Yamuna Devi from after the first Delhi pandal, at Dalmia Bhavan, which she describes in Yamuna Devi: A Life of Unalloyed Devotion:

“[I]t was a very crowded situation—perhaps ten to fifteen of us in one room—and the only place free was the bottom shelf in one of the walk-in closets. We had all of our paraphernalia piled up, and I was in a sleeping bag down on the bottom shelf. Srila Prabhupada noticed I was missing, and I was later told that he had inquired many times where I was.

“One day I became aware of the door being opened, and I turned to see Srila Prabhupada’s lotus feet walking into that closet room. . . .  He placed his hand on my head and inquired, ‘Yamuna? How are you doing?’ Firstly I said, ‘I am always thinking of you, Srila Prabhupada.’ Then I explained my symptoms, and he said, ‘I think this is jaundice . . .  Now I will take charge of your recovery. You will never get well in these conditions on the floor.’

“Srila Prabhupada had a hospital bed brought in for me and moved me into a room right next to his, with floor-to-ceiling windows, neem trees outside, and a fan. And I remember being propped up in this bed, and he came in every day to check on my progress.

“He also called in an Ayurvedic doctor and gave me a diet for jaundice. He said I had to take something called petha, a wax gourd or a white kind of pumpkin taken raw. It’s covered in a thick layer of caramelized sugar, so to me it looked like a ghastly thing to eat. Srila Prabhupada said, ‘This is your medicine. You have to eat it every day; and you also have to drink sugarcane juice.’ So, I remember the first time I took a bite of petha; it tasted like the most bitter, horrible thing because, of the jaundice. Srila Prabhupada would personally stand and watch me eat the petha, and he would actually smile and chuckle.”

So, that was an example from her experience. I have a small example from mine. We were in Juhu, and I used to go to the city all day long and come back at night and report to Srila Prabhupada. One evening after a long day in the city, having, as usual, traveled there and back in the crowded trains and to and from the train station in a crowded bus and not having had anything to eat since morning, I staggered up to Prabhupada’s room, exhausted.

Read more: http://www.girirajswami.com/?p=16141#more-16141

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Breezes by Bhaktimarga Swami

7140899653?profile=RESIZE_400xMost days, on which I embark on my evening trek, I have a destination in mind to go either east, west, north or south. Sometimes I have no pre-arrangement so I let the wind talk to me. If the air currents go north/south, I’ll take that. If the breezes are more active east/west that’s where I feel I am being guided. Not since the summer of ‘77 has there been such an extended heat wave.

Martha Reeve and the Vandellas had a hit song on the charts. “Heat Wave” expressed in its lyrics a love-fever that one person feels for another. Whether you’re hot within or hot externally heat is heat.

Fortunately, a nice rain shower came during the afternoon to lower temperatures. This encouraged me to do just a little more than travel lightly, considering that the more you carry, the more you sweat. I decided on this evening to clutch onto some kheer in cups and go west, where the breeze was less, and make a delivery of the fine desert to a seniour godsister, Subuddhi. Well, she was grateful. I carried on and stationed myself at a bench overlooking the green depression called the Pitts—as in Christie Pitts. Actually, I felt the greatest breezes while at intersections. And up at the top of the Pitts, I caught the most favourable one.

I got on the phone. “Hello, Kasyapa, how is the new registration going for a Krishna centre in Oakville?”

I made another call. “So Vishal, how did the Tulsi seeds I gave you work?”

“They turned into powder. Too old,” said Vishal.

At one point I did not call anyone. I just sat there and took in Krishna in the form of the nicest breeze.

Source: http://thewalkingmonk.blogspot.com/2020/07/sunday-july-19th-2020.html

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In Canto Twelve of Srimad-Bhagavatam, Bhumi, Mother Earth, says this: “Although in the past great men and their descendants have left me, departing from this world in the same helpless way they came into it, even today foolish men are trying to conquer me. For the sake of conquering me, materialistic persons fight one another. Fathers oppose their sons, and brothers fight one another because their hearts are bound to possessing political power. Political leaders challenge one another: ‘All this land is mine! It’s not yours, you fool!’ Thus they attack one another and die.”
On the other hand, those who are enlightened use everything in Krishna’s service, knowing well that the world and everything in it belongs to Him.

Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=61483

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I heard a wonderful talk in which Srila Prabhupada—and Srimad-Bhagavatam—glorified the chanting of the holy names. I was present when Srila Prabhupada gave the talk at the Ardha-kumbha-mela in Allahabad on January 31, 1971.

Srila Prabhupada said, “The conclusion is:

na vai sa narakam yati
neksito yama-kinkaraih
yady apy amangalo martyo
visnu-loke mahiyate
       [SB 6.2.48] [‘Because this very confidential historical narration has the potency to vanquish all sinful reactions, one who hears or describes it with faith and devotion is no longer doomed to hellish life, regardless of his having a material body and regardless of how sinful he may have been. Indeed, the Yamadutas, who carry out the orders of Yamaraja, do not approach him even to see him. After giving up his body, he returns home, back to Godhead, where he is very respectfully received and worshiped.’] One who is engaged in chanting the holy name—for him this is the special facility. What is that? It is guaranteed that he’ll never go to the hellish condition of life. That is guaranteed. He will not be degraded to the lowest stages of life, animal life or a life of ignorance in a lowborn of human life, but he will gradually make progress. And it is also guaranteed that the Yamadutas, the servants of Yamaraja, will never come to see him, or he will never see them. They will be out of sight. This is the result. And yajnati ananyalo mattah: although this material existence is always inauspicious, a person engaged in chanting the holy names always lives in the Vishnu-loka. He’s not in this material world. If you chant without offense, yatra ananyalo mad-bhakta tatra tisthami, immediately you create a Vaikuntha-loka, because Krishna comes.”

Here Srila Prabhupada was referring to a verse in the Padma Purana:

naham tisthami vaikunthe
yoginam hrdayesu va
yatra gayanti mad-bhaktah
tatra tisthami narada

“My dear Narada, I do not dwell in Vaikuntha or in the hearts of the yogis; I remain wherever My devotees sing My glories.”

“When Krishna comes, Vishnu comes,” Prabhupada continued. “Wherever Krishna goes, that is Vaikuntha. . . . There is no difference between the holy name and Krishna. And Krishna says, ‘I live there where My pure devotees are chanting.’ So, when Krishna comes, when Krishna is on your tongue, how you can live in this material world? It is already Vaikuntha, provided your chanting is offenseless.

“In the beginning it may not be offenseless; still, the chanting has got so much power. Krsna-karsini. There are several qualifications of devotional service; one of them is krsna-karsini: attracting Krishna. Krishna attracts everyone, but devotional service attracts Krishna.

mriyamano harer nama
grnan putropacaritam
ajamilo ’py agad dhama
kim uta sraddhaya grnan
      [SB 6.2.49] [‘While suffering at the time of death, Ajamila chanted the holy name of the Lord, and although the chanting was directed toward his son, he nevertheless returned home, back to Godhead. Therefore if one faithfully and inoffensively chants the holy name of the Lord, where is the doubt that he will return to Godhead?’] This is the last conclusion, that Ajamila actually did not mean to chant the holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but some way or other his son’s name was Narayana, and he called his son. The name is so powerful that even without aiming or intending to address the Supreme Personality of Godhead, because the name was there, therefore ajamilo ’py agad dhamam: he was promoted to the spiritual kingdom. Kim uta sraddhaya grnan: then what to speak of such persons who are actually trying to chant the holy name without any offense.

“Ajamila never meant to chant the name of Narayana actually, but he was calling his son, whose name was Narayana. That means it was almost neglectfully done. So, even when neglectfully chanted, the holy name has got so much power, and what to speak of when those who are very faithfully chanting, observing the rules and regulations without any offense—what to speak of them? That is the thing.

“A similar instance is there in the Nrsimha Purana: a boar attacked a mlechchha, a lowborn meat-eater. They hate the hog. They call it haram. Haram means ‘abominable.’ So, one boar attacked him, and while he was dying he called this abominable, ‘haram, haram’; ha rama means ‘O Rama.’ So although he did not mean it, it became ‘O Rama,’ and he was immediately promoted to the spiritual kingdom. So, that is the power of chanting the Hare Krishna mantra.”

Hare Krishna.

Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=80024

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The challenges that the Vedic culture is facing in contemporary India. Local governments taking over temples’ assets, materialistic media deriding religious practices, famous Bollywood movies and actors in a mission against Vedic traditions, Christian conversions by unfair methods, communistic propaganda, western influence, the Muslim presence, cheating gurus, casteism, lack of an organized defense, how is Iskcon prepared to contribute in confronting this Kali-yuga degradation in the and of dharma?

Video: Click here

Stephen Knapp (Sri Nandanandana dasa)
Stephen has put the culmination of over forty years of continuous research, sadhana practice and travel experience into his books in an effort to share it with those who are also looking for higher levels of spiritual understanding. Full descriptions of all of his books, plus numerous articles he has written, and many more resources can be found here on his website. https://www.stephen-knapp.com

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The Global Devotee Care Directorate invites everyone to their weekly webinars focused on Vaishnava Seva and Devotee Care, an effort that emphasizes the culture of devotee care in our ISKCON temples and communities. We are pleased to announce this week’s discussion was led by HH Niranjana Swami Maharaj, who is the force behind one of the world’s largest thriving communities of devotees in Ukraine.
 

Click below to start the player

About HH Niranjana Swami

His Holiness Niranjana Swami was born on December 10, 1952, in Lowell, Massachusetts, USA. In 1972, his spiritual search took a turning point when he saw a Bhagavad-Gita As It Is, on the counter of a bookshop in Washington, DC. After completing his study of the “Gita”, he continued his research of Gaudiya Vaishnava philosophy by purchasing and reading several other publications from the same author, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

 
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Arts

By Radha Sakhi Dasi 

The age-old friendship of Touchstone Media and Torchlight Publishing is now evolving into a merger to operate as a single unit. Advaita Chadra Das, Director of Torchlight Publishing and Isvara Das, Director of Touchstone Media have been planning to work together for quite some time and now that they’ve both joined hands. “We have joined forces to passionately strive to provide everyone with real matter for soul-nourishment and assist them to live spiritually balanced, healthy, compassionate and fulfilling lives,” they stated.

Together now, they will be known as Touchstone Media creating a team of proficient, experienced, enthusiastic and talented professionals dedicated to serving the needs of ever-evolving and spirit-oriental transcendental customer base all over the world. Their combined vision is to inspire every individual to live simply and develop higher thinking by nourishing and enriching the inner-self rather than the outer-self. Touchstone Media is the confluence of India’s rich heritage and divine spirituality.

Torchlight Publishing over the years has published and distributed over 1 million books in 26 languages and is recognized for preserving Indian cultural heritage. While Touchstone Media on the other hand over a couple of decades has distributed over a million books, audio and video media along with E-books and is renowned for its state of the art quality of spiritual publications. Hence this tie up between two aces is a remarkable step towards rich spiritual content publication. 

Torchlight Publishing heralds on shifting the paradigm while Touchstone Media presages on real matter for soul-nourishment. Now with the glory of both, there will be systematic and profound propagation of spiritual knowledge to enlighten and enrich people. 

All products will be available on www.touchstonemedia.com soon.\

Source: https://iskconnews.org/coalition-of-the-aces-touchstone-media-torchlight-publishing-merge,7444/

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Meeting Michael by Bhaktimarga Swami

7138683464?profile=RESIZE_400xI never met Michael before but he seemed to know us. Just to make sure he had the right group in mind, he asked, “Hare Krishna?”

“Yes indeed,” I responded.

Then Michael, a man about fifty years old, proceeded to speak about a deity of Krishna which was moving His eyes—a deity owned by a Hindu friend of his. He inquired about our philosophy: “Is this pantheism?” simply because I had mentioned about seeing divinity in all things.

“Yes, brahman is everywhere, however, there exists a Supreme Brahman, God, from whom all things emanate,” I explained.

We could have spoken for hours but my legs are not necessarily ready for just standing still for too long, and besides that, it was getting late. It certainly makes my day (or night) when I see inquisitiveness in someone. My contentment comes from seeing someone again around the same location for a second discussion. So after terminating my talk with Michael, I anticipated another repeat meeting. That would be nice.

Michael was one to not honour social-distancing according to the rules, so I had to step back a couple of feet. Speaking of being cautious about Covid-19, we have a deity of Krishna in the form of a lion who protects His devotees from adversity. His name is Narasingha, an actual half-man, half-lion incarnation.

When I return to my residence, at the temple, after these walks, I feel the presence of this protective deity who has been set up near our morning speaker’s chair. He is a brass deity and He projects a power of safety.

Source: http://thewalkingmonk.blogspot.com/2020/07/saturday-july-18th-2020.html

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Making Krishna’s Joy Our Joy

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By Shauna

“In the material world everyone is thinking how they will be happy. In the spiritual world, everyone is thinking how Krishna will be happy.” -Jayapataka Swami.

We’re here to find the highest goal, and our bodies are temporary, so why would that goal be to give ourselves happiness? I’m not saying we shouldn’t try to be happy, I’m simply saying the highest happiness is found in giving happiness to others. If we relate this to the gunas, tamasic happiness is finding joy in hurting others, rajasic happiness is finding joy in indulging in sense pleasures, and sattvic happiness is the joy of knowing who you really are and helping others. But happiness beyond the gunas is the happiness that we don’t even seek- it’s what we get when pleasing Krishna. And of course, we are trying to go beyond the gunas.

If these principles can be placed in the material world, why would they not be applied spiritually?
For instance, we know that it is far better for a mother to give up her own peace for the sake of raising her children. We know that she would give food to her child first before she fed herself, and we know that she does this out of love, not out of obligation. This is why the mother-child relationship is always seen as the deepest (material) love connection. This is why we are supposed to learn from cows. They are the mother animal, they are so selfless and yet full of love. If we were supposed to be emotionless and only care for our own inner peace, we should look up to the bear who sleeps most of his life away.

Many people are under the false impression that the goal of spiritual life is to somehow gain knowledge of our inner spiritual essence and therefore realize the oneness of everything which would therefore cause a misconception that we are in fact no less than God Himself. This concept is described many times in the scriptures to be a very limited viewpoint. Although those who hold it can and do reach Brahmajyoti (merging into Brahman), they miss out on the higher goal. Brahmajyoti is achieved even by Krishna’s enemies.
“Sisupala was always in the habit of insulting Krishna-not only in one lifetime, but continuously throughout three lives. Still, Krishna was so kind that He gave Sisupala the salvation of merging into His existence. From this we can understand that the goal of the monist to merge into the effulgence of the Supreme is not a very difficult problem. Persons like Sisupala who are consistently inimical to Krishna can also get this liberation.” (Nectar of Devotion pg.171)
Even King Kamsa- Krishna’s biggest enemy got to merge into His impersonal effulgence. Those who think themselves to be on the same level of God are in a way envious of God and have no humility to admit that there is a being higher than them. This falls into a very low level of happiness. A happiness that leaves little to no room for devotion to God. Devotion to God would be pointless if we are on the same level.
“The impersonalists are enemies of God, because they cannot tolerate the unparalleled opulence of the Lord.” (Nectar of Devotion pg. 121)
Yet still, Krishna is so kind that He gives them the opportunity to enter into His impersonal effulgence.

Many people ask why would an enemy of God get such a reward? And this leads to the main point of this essay- hatred and deep love are rewarded by God because they are emotions that cause the brain to constantly think of Him. In the same way that we would rather have God show us either love or anger rather than have Him ignore us, He would like to see one or the other as well. Krishna does not want a stail, emotionless, lukewarm lover.
This is why many of the demons that were attacked by Krishna were feeling so blessed and wondered what they did to deserve even His angry attention. The wife of the demon Kaliya spoke as follows to Krishna after Krishna had attacked Kaliya.

SB 10.16.34: What You have done here is actually mercy for us, since the punishment You give to the wicked certainly drives away all their contamination. Indeed, because this conditioned soul, our husband, is so sinful that he has assumed the body of a serpent, Your anger toward him is obviously to be understood as Your mercy.

SB 10.16.35: Did our husband carefully perform austerities in a previous life, with his mind free of pride and full of respect for others? Is that why You are pleased with him? Or did he in some previous existence carefully execute religious duties with compassion for all living beings, and is that why You, the life of all living beings, are now satisfied with Him?

So even the anger of Krishna is seen to be His mercy. Whereas those who are impartial towards Krishna are very unfortunate. They feel nothing for Him at all. They are lukewarm. As the popular saying goes “it is better to feel pain than nothing at all,” it also applies spiritually. If God came to you and told you He was not happy with you, you would wonder what you did to deserve that level of attention from Him. Or if God is extremely pleased with His devotee and reveals a part of Himself, or increases the love of the devotee, that is also a blessing.

If one is envious of God, he is constantly thinking himself to be one and the same with God. This was true for Kamsa, he wanted to be as powerful as Krishna. If someone has selfless love for God, he is constantly thinking of how he can please God and God’s creation. Of course we know selflessness is better than envy, so of course these two would not get the same result. Which from that we can conclude that if Krishna’s enemies get to merge into the impersonal brahmajyoti- what is higher than that that is achieved by lovers of Him? And even though the answer is simple, an eternity of God’s personal abode, even that is not desired by a true devotee.
A true devotee does not care for any kind of liberation because this world is just as good as any other. We have every opportunity to serve Krishna here, and if that is our only goal, then we are happy with that. Therefore, there is no leading motivation except for the Lords pleasure. We aren’t pleasing Him to get into His abode, or to merge into Him, or to become Him. We are serving because we truly want to make Him happy, and as long as He is happy, we are happy. THAT is spiritual maturity. Complete surrender.

It’s not about how much you can chant in a day, how long you can meditate, or how much inner peace you have. It’s not about how much spiritual knowledge you have, how many debates you can win, or even, shockingly, how much you can outwardly express your love to God. We can never expect to be perfect in the beginning. We can’t expect to have complete selfless love in the beginning of our journey. That only comes from Krishna’s grace, and the only way we can get that grace is by patience and surrender. If we’re telling God that we need to work on ourselves before we come to Him… that’s like saying you’re too sick to goto the hospital. There is no such thing as gaining true joy separate from God. He wants to help us, that is why surrender is the most important step. If you had a disease, all the learning about it, all the attempts to cure it on your own wouldn’t do any good. The only thing that would help is trusting a doctor who knows more to cure you. In the same way, all the spiritual knowledge, all the meditation and inner peace practices will amount to nothing unless you trust that God who is higher than you, is the only one who can deliver you and bring you true joy.

Surrender means no expectations, just pure trust. That’s a big problem for people today. Faith alone is hard let alone blind faith. Trusting in a higher power who knows what He is doing and what He is talking about is not easy. But that is where selflessness takes a part. If we give up the false notion that we are God, if we give up the idea that we have the power to save ourselves, if we give up the illusion that our knowledge is somehow higher than God’s, then we have become selfless and can therefore surrender.
But then in order to be selfless requires love. Why would we give up this notion that God is higher than us if we don’t even love God? If we don’t trust in His knowledge and perfection, we wouldn’t really love Him. If we believe we are one in the same, what is the use of holding Him higher and therefore loving Him? If we are God and pride is bad, we can’t love ourselves with the highest amount of love we are meant to love God with. And of course if we are God, the idea of God loving us is completely out of the question, and if we don’t believe God loves us then that makes loving and trusting Him even harder. So of course that leaves the question; how do you love God so much that you become selfless and therefore are able to surrender?

Now my answer for that is simple, the truth of the matter is, God is who He is whether you believe it or not. God is higher than you whether you believe it or not. God is smarter than you whether you believe it or not. God is so much more than you could ever possibly imagine whether you believe it or not. God is so mysteriously amazing that if we spent every single one of our thousands of lives meditating on Him, we couldn’t even come close to all of who He is, and yet He is so kind that He makes Himself available through love. Only through love is He conquered.

“My dear Arjuna, only by undivided devotional service can I be understood as I am, standing before you, and can thus be seen directly. Only in this way can you enter into the mysteries of My understanding.”(B.G. 11:54)

He has given us a guidebook. He has given us His pastimes. He has given us His names. He has given us life. He has given us thousands of chances to know Him, and yet we still find it difficult to even love Him…
He has known us from our first life and will know us up until our last. He will know us in Eternity, and will keep knowledge of the past. He is the cause of every breath we take, and everything we adore. He is the seed in which everything grows and all life is born. He is the sight we see, the love we feel and the reason that we pray. He is the driving force within us leaving room for us to turn away. This love is free will, it is completely up to you… He can’t make you love Him, but isn’t it the least you could do?

Once one has become spiritual mature, which requires only surrender, one no longer hankers for joy because they know it doesn’t exist apart from Krishna. They no longer search for inner peace because they know Krishna is their peace. They no longer look to please themselves, because Krishna’s pleasure is all that matters. They no longer see themselves as the same as God because they know how great He is. They no longer desire any kind of liberation because their idea of a reward is being able to serve God all the time. Krishna’s joy becomes their joy. Krishna’s love becomes their love. They become one with Him in a sense that they are nothing without Him.

“My dear Lord, if after taking liberation I have no chance of hearing the glories of Your Lordship, glories chanted by pure devotees from the core of their hearts in praise of Your lotus feet, and if I have no chance for this honey of transcendental bliss, then I shall never ask for liberation or this so-called spiritual emancipation. I shall simply always pray unto Your Lordship that You may give me millions of tongues and millions of ears, so that I can constantly chant and hear Your transcendental glories.” (Maharaja Prthu, S.B. 4.20.24)

“My dear Sati, persons who are devoted to Narayana are not afraid of anything. If they are elevated to the higher planetary systems, or if they get liberation from material contamination, or if they are pushed down to the hellish condition of life- or, in fact, any situation whatever- they are not afraid of anything. Simply because they have taken shelter of the lotus feet of Narayana, for them any position in the material world is as good as another.” (Lord Shiva, S.B. 6.7.28)

“My dear Uddhava, the devotees who have completely taken shelter of My service are so steadfast in devotional service that they have no other desire. Even if they are offered the four kinds of spiritual opulences, they will refuse to accept them. So what to speak of their desiring anything within the material world!” (S.B. 11.20.34)

Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=17486

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Relating to Devotees with Due Respect

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By Rathish das

As we discussed in Respect, the Basis of Civilisation, Vedic Culture is based on respect and this respect is expressed through specific codes of conduct or etiquette. In this section, we will go a little more in detail about the principles and practices of Vaisnava etiquette.

…it is the characteristic of a devotee to observe and protect the Vaisnava etiquette. Maintenance of the Vaisnava etiquette is the ornament of a devotee. …By observing the etiquette, you have satisfied My mind. Who else but you will show this example? (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya Lila 4.130, 132)

Nothing can be successful without sadacara (etiquette). Every activity should be performed with the right attitude. A saint’s heart is free from all impurities. Thus the way a saint acts is the right behaviour known as sadacara. (Hari Bhakti Vilasa)

Important Points About Etiquette

· Etiquette means external manners and conduct.
· Etiquette helps us become free from our original envy and desire to be enjoyers and controllers.
· A faultless etiquette increases ones fame, wealth, longevity, and destroys everything inauspicious.
· Proper Vaisnava etiquette purifies the heart and consciousness.
· Etiquette is the ornament of the Vaisnava.
· Practicing etiquette is action in the mode of goodness.
· A devotee’s advancement can be seen by how humble he is, how well he behaves, and how disciplined and cultivated he is.

The Glories of the Devotees

Understanding the glories of the devotees helps us to appreciate the importance and value of dealing with devotees with proper respect. The following are all quotes from the scriptures.

O great sage, among many millions who are liberated and perfect in knowledge of liberation, one may be a devotee of Lord Narayana, or Krishna. Such devotees, who are fully peaceful, are extremely rare. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.14.5)

My Lord, devotees like your good self are verily holy places personified. Because you carry the Personality of Godhead within your heart, you turn all places into places of pilgrimage. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.13.10)

All the demigods and their exalted qualities, such as religion, knowledge and renunciation, become manifest in the body of one who has developed unalloyed devotion for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva. On the other hand, a person devoid of devotional service and engaged in material activities has no good qualities. Even if he is adept at the practice of mystic yoga or the honest endeavor of maintaining his family and relatives, he must be driven by his own mental speculations and must engage in the service of the Lord’s external energy. How can there be any good qualities in such a man? (Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.18.12)

I offer my respectful obeisances unto all the Vaisnava devotees of the Lord. They can fulfill the desires of everyone, just like desire trees, and they are full of compassion for the fallen conditioned souls. (Sri Vaisnava Pranama)

Kirta, Huna, Andhra, Pulinda, Pulkasa, Abhira, Sumbha, Yavana, members of the Khasa races and even others addicted to sinful acts can be purified by taking shelter of the devotees of the Lord, due to His being the supreme power. I beg to offer my respectful obeisances unto Him. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.4.18)

Sri Caitanya Mahprabhu then asked Ramananda Raya, “Out of all glorious activities, which is the most glorious?” Ramananda Raya replied, “That person who is reputed to be a devotee of Lord Krishna enjoys the utmost fame and glory.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya Lila 8.246)

In this Age of Kali, the fame of one who is known as a great devotee is very rare. However, such a position is superior to that of the great demigods like Brahma and Mahadeva. This is the opinion of all spiritual masters. (Garuda Purana)

After many, many births, when a person realizes that he is the eternal servant of Vasudeva, he can deliver all the worlds. (Itihasa-samuccaya; Narada tells Pundarika)

At the time of initiation, when a devotee fully surrenders to the service of the Lord, Krishna accepts him to be as good as He Himself. (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Antya Lila 4.192)

It is said that out of thousands of brahmanas, one is qualified to perform sacrifices, and out of many thousands of such qualified brahmanas expert in sacrificial offerings, one learned brahmana may have passed beyond all Vedic knowledge. He is considered the best among all these brahmanas. And yet, out of thousands of such brahmanas who have surpassed Vedic knowledge, one person may be a Visnu-bhakta, and he is most famous. Out of many thousands of such Vaisnavas, one who is completely fixed in the service of Lord Krishna is most famous. Indeed, a person who is completely devoted to the service of the Lord certainly returns home, back to Godhead. (Garuda Purana)

After much hard labor, a person highly learned in Vedic literature certainly becomes very famous. However, one who is always hearing and chanting the glories of the lotus feet of Mukunda within his heart is certainly superior. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.13.4)

I do not aspire to take birth as a Brahma if that Brahma is not a devotee of the Lord. I shall be satisfied simply to take birth as an insect if I am given a chance to remain in the house of a devotee. (Narayana-vyuha-stava)

Although the Supreme Personality of Godhead is self-sufficient, He becomes dependent on His devotees. He does not care for the goddess of fortune, nor for the kings and demigods who are after the favours of the goddess of fortune. Where is that person who is actually grateful and will not worship the Personality of Godhead? (Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.31.22)

Lord Siva said: “I do not know the truth about Krishna, but a devotee of Lord Krishna knows all the truth. Out of all the devotees of Lord Krishna, Prahlada is the greatest.”

The qualities of one engaged in the service of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu-such as reputation, austerities, penances and knowledge-are not to be compared to the good qualities of others. Such is the perfection of a devotee always engaged in the service of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. (Caitanya-candramrta 26)

The verdict of all revealed scriptures is that by even a moment’s association with a pure devotee, one can attain all success. (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya Lila 22.54)

Some Points to be Followed

· Learn how to properly offer obeisances and respect.
· Speech
· Never use unpleasant words.
· Never lie.
· Don’t speak badly of others. We shouldn’t look at the faults. We should try to see the good qualities in others.
· Don’t laugh too loudly.
· Don’t tease people who are dumb, mad, in need, ugly, lame or fallen.
· Don’t reprimand anyone except your children or students.
· Don’t blow your own trumpet.
· Association—Don’t develop friendship with people who are envious, fallen, mad, debauched, liars, unscupulous, have illicit connection with the opposite sex, or with the unchaste.

· If someone insults you, leave the place quietly.
· We should always try to give service to the Vaisnavas. Worshiping Krishna must be accompanied by service to His devotees. Service to devotees is higher than service to Visnu.

· Never take sides in a dispute between devotees.
· We are servants; therefore we address others as prabhu (master).
· Everyone has something better than you; you can always learn something from everyone.
· If you engage your godbrothers and godsisterrs as your servants, you will fall down.
· By offering obeisances one can get free from sinful reactions, one gets purified and can attain the lotus feet of Sri Hari.

· The godbrothers of the guru should be respected just as the guru himself.
· Devotee always looks for reasons to give respect to others.
Relating to Seniors, Juniors, and Peers
Seniority is determined in five different ways

Varna (social position)
Asrama (stage of life)
Diksa (time of initiation)
Age
Spiritual advancement
Generally, among ISKCON devotees the position of seniority is determined by diksa, but other factors may take precedence depending on the circumstances. If a younger devotee has a position of authority over an older devotee, he must instruct the older devotee but still he must do so with due respect regarding the older devotee’s seniority by initiation. Age is another factor. An older person who is new to Krishna consciousness must still be offered due respect because of his or her age even if a younger devotee is senior by initiation.

But above and beyond all of these considerations is the overriding element of spiritual advancement. If a devotee is clearly far superior by spiritual advancement, he is given all respect. Sukadeva Goswami is the classic example. When he arrived at the bank of the Ganges where Maharaja Pariksit was seated among all the sages from all over the universe, the sages were trying to determine who was the most qualified to speak to Maharaja Pariksit. Sukadeva was only sixteen-years-old. He was probably the most junior person present by all other considerations. But all the sages unanimously chose him, even above his father, Vyasadeva, because of his superior spiritual realisation.

· Seniors offer respect and service
· Juniors offer affection and care
· Peers offer friendship
Among materialists, an atmosphere of envy predominates: superiors are envied and dragged down, juniors are trodden on and exploited, and peers are competed with. See Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.8.34.

Receiving A Guest

· The householder should make a guest so welcome that he will never want to leave.
· Even if the guest is an enemy, he should be treated so well that he forgets that his host is an enemy. See the example of Bhima and Jarasandha (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.18.28 purport)

· Even if a guest turns up uninvited, he must be offered a warm welcome and treated with all respect.
· Even if the host is poor, he must at least offer a sitting place, a drink of water, and some sweet words. (see also Srimad-Bhagavatam 8.16.6 purport and Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.22.10 purport)

Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=1091

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Materialistic society teaches us to be aggressive and calculating so we can push our way through. In Vaisnava culture it is opposite – we offer respect. The reason: when you give respect without expecting something in return, you open yourself up to the power of divine blessings.

Imbibing a culture of respect, where you are deferential towards others in general but especially towards elders and vaisnavas, brings a tremendous potency to you that cannot be accessed otherwise. The driving force of a spiritual society is the power of blessings from the vaisnavas and mercy from krsna.

Blessings and mercy take us beyond what we can hope to achieve by ourselves. our personal strength can bring about certain achievements but these will always remain within the limits of our karma, of what is preordained for us. only the power of blessings can carry us beyond. Srila Prabhupada is known for quoting napoleon who said “Impossible is a word in a fool’s dictionary.” I used to wonder how this is possible until I learned that Srila Prabhupada is referring to the extraordinary power of blessings received from the spiritual master that make everything possible. In a spiritual culture, therefore, every activity is performed after first collecting blessings from superiors.

we know that it is better to take a humble position and show respect than to take a superior position and demand respect. The moment you are respectful you open yourself up to blessings. My dear devotees, if you want to move forward in your life then you should know the art of giving respect to elders. If you do this, you gain a mystical support that ensures all your undertakings are successful.

There are five factors that determine our success and especially the fifth factor determines if success is possible at all. The first four: the proper place, time, endeavor and skill all depend on the fifth factor: Paramatma, the Supersoul in the heart, who arranges this world according to His plans. In spiritual culture we inhabit the opposite attitude to material culture where everything depends on one’s own strength and efforts. a spiritual attitude knows of a different power – the power of blessings from devotees.

Two important people to receive blessings from are our parents. The Lord personally shows by example: Lord Ramacandra first requested the blessings of His father Dasaratha before taking Sita as His wife, and Sri caitanya Mahaprabhu would not take sannyasa unless His mother Sacidevi gave her blessings. The dharma-sastras say a mother’s blessings are even superior to those of the father because she has carried us for nine months and given birth under great physical pain. Men could not endure the same pain, they would die from it, but the mother’s organism is equipped with the necessary resilience because of her exemplary love.

The english word respect comes from the Latin word respectare. Spectare means “to look” and re like in repeat, reanimation, reincarnation or resurrection means “again”. Thus, respectare means “to look again”. How can we apply this in our lives?

we usually look with the apara-vicara, which means the external, material perspective. In order to “look again” we must see with a different, improved perspective called the tattva- vicara, a perspective that seeks spiritual truth. as devotees we offer respect to all living beings. To practice this you can do the following exercise: learn to respect all devotees by “looking again”. Take for example Suresh patel; if I look at him in one way, he is a human being like all of us. He has the same needs we all have – he wants to eat, he wants to be happy, he want this and that, and sometimes Suresh will get on my nerves because he wants the same thing I want – he wants respect and to be recognized. His interest will sometimes cross my interest and
it will be painful for me. Maybe he will take something that I want for myself? or maybe he will be more successful than me and have more followers on his Facebook page? So, if I want to respect Suresh, who is a good devotee, I should look again.
What do I see when I look at the same Suresh with tattva-vicara? I will see that he is a spiritual soul and a part of krsna. He does not belong to any nationality or particular conditioning; he is an eternal soul and dear to the Lord. The Lord loves all of his parts and parcels and thus He is in the heart of Suresh. Yes, Suresh is a temple of the Lord.

This is the vision we can practice. Let us see each other with respectare – by looking again. You can see your significant other as an eternal servant of the Lord and that both of you are meant to support each other. If you are a brahmacari, you can look at the other brahmacaris as temples of the Lord where the Lord
is present, and thus respect and assist each other. The culture of respecting each other reaches its pinnacle when we respect superiors, mentors, more experienced vaisnavas and parents from whom we can collect blessings. Yes, even parents, though it may be difficult sometimes because they may see things differently from us. even blessings of non-devotee parents are important, so we should give them respect. They may not be happy with our spiritual path, but it remains important to try to have a relationship with them that induces them to bless us. we can act more properly, be kind, respectful and so on. Therefore, I encourage you please shift from material to spiritual vision.

From a lecture by Sacinandana Swami in almviks Gard, Sweden, July 31st, 2018.

Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=71610

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Dear Devotees,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

HH Bhakti Charu Swami’s sudden departure has left an empty space in my heart.

Up to the last moment, I was praying and hoping that Maharaja would be able to overcome this disease.

I was always cherishing his association because it filled me with warmth, with a feeling of a close family member that was always there for me when something would go wrong. A hug from Maharaja was a booster in my Bhakti.

Maharaja’s outstanding spiritual status, his deep love for Srila Prabhupada, his imbibed and realized Vaishnava culture, his loving care touches deeply my heart.

We can see from the reactions of so many devotees from all over the world who have been touched by Maharaja’s love in Krsna Consciousness. Because Maharaja was able to expand his heartfelt feelings for all the devotees, Godbrothers and disciples, that’s why so many devotees rightly feel they have a deep connection with Maharaja.

Maharaja while speaking of his realisations and pastimes of Srila Prabhupada, brought us always in direct connection with the mood and the teachings of his Divine Grace.

By what I feel, I can understand what the disciples are going through. Our solace and the solace of the disciples is that if we continue the process of Krsna Consciousness there is never a separation from the spiritual master.

As to the question, why this happened to our dearmost Bhakti Charu Swami,
Srila Prabhupada explains in Srimad Bhagavatam 3.16.37 When something is arranged by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one should not be disturbed by it, even if it appears to be a reverse according to one’s calculations. For example, sometimes we see a powerful preacher is killed….one should simply understand that in these matters there must be some plan of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

HH Bhakti Charu Swami ki jaya.

Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=87615

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True Humility

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From A Meditation on the Importance of True Humility” in “Back to Godhead, Vol. 53, No. 5 (Sep/Oct 2019):
Guru Dasa (disciple of Bhaktimarga Swami): “The Tao Te Ching advises that humility is the best policy. One quote I like is translated as follows: ‘If the sage wants to stand above people, he must speak to them from below.
If he wants to lead people, he must follow them from behind.’ (Chapter 66)”

“Jesus also advised humility. He said, ‘So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.’ Matthew (King James Version) 20:16.”

“Last year I heard a talk about this same principle at a conference in San Francisco attended by hundreds of defense and corporate lawyers. We were told how the U.S. Marines follow this principle – they eat together by reverse rank order. The newest private eats first. The general eats last. It is not a written rule but is a tradition going back for centuries.”

“False pride in ourselves or in our knowledge makes us miserable. Humility is liberating. When I think about how small I am and how little I actually know, it is liberating, like a weight lifted off my back. I am not in control, so why worry? Stress at work? Stress at home? It will all pass. It is just material nature and time playing their usual tricks. All of our stresses and insecurities are like a fleeting shadow play. Shakespeare said it well: ‘All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts.’

“We all have our parts to play at various stages of life, but unlike the actors in a Shakespeare play, we forget we are acting and think we are the character we are playing.”

“True humility does not mean self-hatred. It’s an acknowledgment of our own limitations, and that is all. As I have heard some wise friends say, one who is humble does not think less of himself, but thinks of himself less. We should seek that humility which does not diminish our sense of self-worth but abhors narcissism and self-promotion.”

“Finally, the value of humility in our spiritual quest is that it opens our minds and hearts to instruction from higher authorities. If we do not have humility, we close the door to learning. Spiritual sources of knowledge are guru, sadhu, and sastra. It’s easy to feign respect for these higher authorities and put on a show of humility; it’s not as easy to truly achieve that humility. Without achieving it, who are we fooling? We might fool others, and we might fool ourselves, but we can’t fool the Paramatma in our hearts, the Supersoul who sees and knows all. Ultimately only the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the witness who actually matters – and we can’t fool him. So why try?”

Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=75432

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Srila Vamsidasa Babaji

7133740091?profile=RESIZE_584xExcerpts from OBL Kapoor’s “The Saints of Bengal” (Srila Prabhupada’s Godbrother)

Vamsidasa Babaji was a siddha-mahatma in the disciplic succession of Sri Narottama Thakura. The name of his diksa-guru was Harilal Vrajavasi and the name of his vesa-guru was Ramananda Vrajavasi. But it was difficult to know that he was siddha, because he lived far away from the world in a solitary place on the bank of Ganga near Baral Ghata in Navadvipa, as if he was renounced by the world, as an idiotic and worthless destitute. But the fact is that it is not the world that had renounced him, but he, who had renounced the world as worthless. He hardly had any worldly possessions. His only possessions were an old kaupina, karanga and kantha. Once Sripada Haridasa Gosvami asked him why he did not wear bahirvasa. He replied, “I live only with ka, which means kaupina, karanga and kantha. I have nothing to do with ba”, which means bahirvasa or outer garment. Bahirvasa brings relationship with the outer world and the people, who are bahiranga, that is those, who are attached to the outer world. My Gaura has asked me not to wear bahirvasa and mix with people who are bahiranga.”

Vamsidasa Babaji lived in a world of his own. His world centered round his deities-Gaura-Gadadhara, Nitai, Radha-Krishna and Gopala. For the service of these deities he had two brass pots, some earthen pots, one plate, one glass, some small cups, panca patra, bell and conch-shell and nothing else. Baba passed day and night in the service of the deities and in sweet talks with Them. Early in the morning he went out from his kuti to collect flowers. Then he went for bhiksa. He returned to the kuti about noon and made garlands from the flowers for each of the six deities. After that he started cutting vegetables. He washed each vegetable a number of times. Then he cleaned rice. He examined each grain of rice. If he found any grain from which the husk was not removed, he removed it with his own hand. He did everything slowly, contemplating all the time the lila of Radha-Krishna or Gaura-Nitai, and singing or talking to Them. It was only late in the evening that he could cook and offer bhoga to the deities. He had no consciousness of time. Morning and evening, day and night had no meaning for him. Almost the whole night he kept awake, talking and singing.

Once Sripada Haridasa Gosvami was surprised to see him cooking for the deities at about 9 a.m. He said to him, “Baba! It would be fine, if you prepare bhoga for the deities like this in the morning everyday.” He replied, “I do not know morning or evening. Am I their father’s servant so to feed them at appointed hours? If They want to eat like that, let Them make Their own arrangements for cooking. Let Gadadhara cook for Gaura. Nitai is avadhuta. He has no caste. He can go and eat anywhere. I do not worry about my Gopala. A milch-cow comes here everyday and gives Him milk. He can live on that. I have to worry about Radha-Krishna. For Them I will have to cook a little rice and vegetables. If I don’t, They will go to Vmdavana and do madhukari. ”

Vamsidas Baba never locked the door of his kuti when he went out for bhiksa or to bathe in the Gariga. If someone asked him why he did not lock the kuti, he said, “If the owner of the house Himself does not keep a watch and has a soft corner for the thief, what is the use of locking the house? I do not even keep the keys of the lock with me. The lock has three keys. All the three are with the three boys. One is with Gaura, one with Nitai and one with Gadadhara.” After entrusting the lock and the keys to the three boys, Baba used to be free from anxiety. If while he was out a cow entered the kuti and turned everything topsy turvy, he would be angry with the boys. If some one stole something from the kuti he would say, “Gaura has a soft corner for Nadiyavasis, the residents of His own Dhama. Therefore He gives things away to them. I am after all an outsider.” Once a gold necklace, given by someone to Gaura, was stolen, when he had gone out for bhiksa. On returning to the kuti he kept on scolding Gaura and asking Him whom He had given away the necklace, for about two hours. Towards the evening he got a hint. He then went to the house of the theif and asked him for the necklace. The thief pushed him down the verandah of his house. He was hurt. But he did not say anything. But how could Gaura tolerate this? The thief soon died as well as all the other members of his family.

Once Baba had to punish Gaura-Nitai for Their connivance in a theft. The two brass-pots, in which Baba’ used to cook for Gaura-Nitai were stolen. How could this happen without the connivance of Gaura-Nitai? So They were punished. Baba scolded Them and did not give Them anything to eat that day. The punishment had its effect The next day someone came quietly and delivered one of those pots. Baba said, “This small pot is Nitai’s. He will be fed today. If Gaura wants to eat, He must also bring His pot.” Baba always did what he said. He cooked and offered bhoga to Nitai. Gaura drew a long face as He kept looking at Nitai eating. In the meantime another man came and delivered the other pot. Baba then cooked in that pot and offered bhoga to Gaura. When Gaura also had eaten, he said with tears in his eyes, “Do I ever want to punish You? But both of You are so naughty that You must always tease me. You do not know that I have now become old and cannot bear it all. What can I do?”

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura also received the blessings of Srila Vamsidas Babaji Maharaja in Navadwip. Seeing Srila Sarasvati Thakura, Srila Varmsidasa Babaji Mahasaya would say, “Someone very close to my Gaura has come to me.”

Vamsivat Babaji was a Gaudiya sadhu who lived at Swarupa Gunj during the time of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati’s mission. He was respected by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, and he used to see to it that Vamsivat Babaji was provided with grains and so on by Gaudiya Matha brahmacaris, whom he’d send to Swarupa Gunj from the Yoga Pitha Mandir.

One day, a lady selling fish approached Vamsidasa Babaji, offering him some choice from the type of catch. Somehow or other, Babaji’s mind got attracted to taste the fish. But he immediately checked himself, and became very angry. He first of all shouted at the woman to get away. Then he was shouting, “How could this happen? How could this happen? I’ve surrendered my life to Radha Krishna, I’m under They’re protection, and still this happens! Why You are not protecting me?”

He went storming into his bhajan kutir. People gathered while he fussed and fumed at his Deities inside. Then he came out, bringing the Deities tied by rope, and threw Them into the Ganga. He kept the end of the rope under his foot. When one man inquired why he was doing this, the Baba threw a rock at him.

When this news reached the Gaudiya Matha Mandir, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta called his brahmacaris together and forbade them from visiting this baba again, save for one who would just deliver supplies. After a few days, he again called them together and said, “Some of you think I’ve stopped you from visiting babaji maharaja because he is in maya. That is not so. But you are not able to understand this bhava. So stay away.”

Later, when that one brahmacari visited, Vamsidas babaji maharaj threw a stone at him and told, “If you want to please me, then never return here again!”

Previously his reception had always been unpredictable. Sometimes the Baba would welcome him. Sometimes he would accept the gifts without saying a word. Sometimes he would just sit and stare. Sometimes he would take the gifts and angrily throw them in the river.

It is difficult to understand what bhava Vamsidasa Baba had towards Gaura. It sometimes appeared to be sakhya (friendly), sometimes vatsalya (parental) and sometimes madhura, like that of a Nadiya-nagari (lady of Nadiya) towards Gaurariga as Nadiya-nagara (an attractive citizen of Nadiya). If it was basically madhura, it is easy to understand that he sometimes exhibited vatsalya-bhava towards Him and sometimes sakhya, because madhura-bhava includes all other bhavas. According to Haridasa Gosvami his bhava was of Nadiyanagari type, because he used to compose songs of this bhava and sing. He has quoted some of these songs. Two of them are reproduced below:

kena giya chilama ganga-tire o nagari |
nyana kataksa bane gaura kaila mana churi ||
ami ekhana ki kari o nagari ki kari ||

“O Nagari! How I repent having gone to the bank of Ganga.
Gaura cast a side long glance at me and stole my heart
What shall I do now, O Nagari! What shall I do?”

bala go nagari gaura kallena ki ||
grha gela kula gela mana kela curi |
sajani! ekhana ami ki kari ||
nayana kone, kane kane gaura kallena ki |
ami je prana mari gaura kallena ki ||
“Tell me O Nagari what Gaura has done to me, He winked and whispered and did, I do not know what to me. O Sakhi! Now I know not what to do, Life is running out of me. O! What has Gaura done to me?”

Towards the end of his life Baba once went to his birth place Majitpur in district Maymansinha. He carried the deities with him. On the way he neither ate, nor slept, nor passed stool or urine. On reaching Majitpur he stayed in a dilapidated temple. After that he went to Vrndavana and Puri. In Vrndavana he stayed on the bank of Yamuna, in Puri on the bank of Narendra Sarovara. He never went inside a temple for darsana. During these travels the sadhus of the Gaudiya Matha rendered great service to him.

Nothing is known about Baba’s life as a householder, except that he was married at an early age and his son Haracandra was nine or ten years old when he renounced the world. He went to Navadvipa about the year 1906. The author once tried to see him in 1932, but could not, because the door of his kuti was closed, though he could hear him talking to the deities in Maymansinha dialect. He left the world in 1944.

(Excerpts from OBL Kapoor’s “The Saints of Bengal”)

Disappearance Day on Caturthi

Vamsi das Babaji:
“You must weep for Krishna!”
by His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj

The following is an excerpt from the chapter “What is Bhakti?” in the book “A Taste of Transcendence” by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj. For more information about this book, click here.
http://www.gokul.org/weep/weep.html

The great Vaisnava saint, Vamsi dasa Babaji Maharaja, was no ordinary sadhu. Outwardly, he had his advent in what is now known as Bangladesh, in Majidpur Village, Maimansingh district, near Jamalpur. But later, he came to Navadvipa-dhama, accepted the babaji order and performed his bhajana under a tree. The order of sannyasa is given for preaching, but a babaji will perform bhajana in a holy, secluded place. A babaji will not go outside for pracara (preaching). Many people would come to Babaji Maharaja and offer to build him a cottage, but he chose to remain always beneath a banyan tree. He would not move from there. He was surcharged with krsna-prema. He was a very tall figure. He never shaved, but remained like a madman. Many people would offer him various things, but he would pay them no attention. Whatever he might receive, he would distribute to others. He was an anchorite. Nobody could understand his behavior. He had only two big cloth bags—he had no temple. In one cloth bag was Gaura-Nitai and, in the other, Radha-Krsna. Sometimes, he would take the Deities out and perform puja. So, is his bhakti less because he had just small Deities, and ours greater because we have a big temple? Gaura-Nityananda were most satisfied by his service. Our Parampujyapada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura used to bow down to him from a distance. He prohibited his disciples from visiting Babaji Maharaja. His disciples asked, “Shall we not have darsana of the sadhus?” But Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura replied, “You will not be able to understand his behavior and you will commit offenses. He is not within this world, but is moving in the transcendental realm. If I commit an offense, it will be anti-devotional. For this reason, I am bowing down to him from a distance. Only a suddha bhakta can understand his wonderful behavior. An ordinary novice of bhajana will be unable to understand, so he should not go there. Babaji Maharaja is always surcharged with krsna-prema!”

There was a person from Navadvipa-dhama who used to come to Babaji Maharaja. One day, he thought, “I have the desire to obtain the Supreme Lord. How can I get Bhagavan?” He was only murmuring, speaking to himself, so Babaji Maharaja did not reply. This person came back repeatedly to see Babaji Maharaja. Finally, one day, he approached Maharaja directly.

“What do you want?” Babaji Maharaja asked him.

“I want to see Bhagavan,” the man said.

Babaji Maharaja replied with only one word: “Weep!”

We might supply so much scriptural evidence to try to explain, in so many ways, how to obtain the Supreme Lord, but what did Vamsi dasa Babaji Maharaja say? “Weep for Him!” If you can weep for Him, then you can get Him. If there is want for Him, then He will come. We are uttering His Names, but we do not want Him. So, we are uttering the Names of Krsna—“hare krsna, hare krsna, krsna krsna, hare hare, krsna rama, hare rama, rama rama, hare hare”—and Krsna appears before us. He says to us, “Come along!”

We say to Him, “No, I cannot go now. Right now I require a million dollars to save my business. I have my children. I have just bought a building. I cannot go now.”

“So, why have you called Me?” Krsna asks.

“I have called you to give me a million dollars,” we reply. “Remove my difficulties. I do not have time to go now.”

From where are we uttering the Name? Not from the heart! We are chanting, “hare krsna” but, if Krsna were to come, we would be unable to go.

A certain Svamiji gave an illustration. It is an illustration involving the ordinary day-to-day life of a householder but, nonetheless, there is something very impressive about this illustration. In a town in Bengal, there was a man who worked in an office. He lived with his wife and two children. One of the children was only three or four months old and the other was seven years old. One day, the man told his wife, “You will have to prepare breakfast early today because I have to go into the office early. After I eat, I shall leave right away.” When the wife went to cook, she first put the baby on the bed and then went into the kitchen. But, whenever she would enter the kitchen, the child would cry. She thought, “With the child in my lap, how will I be able to cook? It is very difficult.” She was thinking what she should do. Then she thought of a way she could manage. She called the seven-year-old child.

“Darling, come here!” she called. “Do you know that red toy in the shop?”

“Yes, I know it,” the child answered.

“Go and buy that toy, but be sure that it makes a nice jingling sound.”

The child took some money and went off to buy the toy. He brought it home and gave it to the mother. The mother laid the baby down on the bed and hung the red-colored toy with the jingling sound above him, at the end of a rope. The baby saw the toy and immediately started to play with it, hitting it from side to side. The child was most delighted as he continued to slap the toy and hear the jingling sound. For one hour he played like that, and the mother went to do her cooking. After that, the child started to feel hungry. For the entire time that the child was playing, he did not remember his mother. But, now that he felt hungry, he thought, “Oh, where is my mother?” But his mother did not come. Then, he started crying, signifying, “I am hungry! Come!” He could not speak, so he beckoned his mother by crying. “Come to me and suckle me! I am hungry!” His mother, however, was busy cooking. “No,” she thought, “let the child cry.”

After some time, the child stopped crying and went back to playing with the toy—jingle, jingle, jingle. After playing like that for a while, the pangs of hunger returned. His hunger increased and increased and he became more and more unhappy. He began to cry for his mother even more loudly than before.

His mother heard the crying of the baby, but thought that she should first finish her cooking.

Finally, the hunger became unbearable for the child. The child thought, “I don’t want toys!” All he could think about was his mother.
His crying became louder and louder until he was screaming. He started to throw his arms about and kick his legs, in a tantrum.

Then the mother thought, “Oh, I cannot stay away any longer!” The mother ran toward the child, embraced him and suckled him.

Like this, the Supreme Lord has given us toys—the toy of a wife or husband, toys of children, toys of buildings, toys of radios, toys of videos, toys of computers. Seeing this, Krsna thinks, “They are absorbed in their toys! I have no worries. I am engaged in My pastimes in the transcendental realm. They do not want this. They want those things instead. Here, take this computer! Take that video! Take this! Take that!”

Upon the awakening of his real self (atma), a man feels the want of the sweetest affection of the Supreme Lord. He cries, “Oh Supreme Lord! In this world, nothing gives me happiness. Everything is temporary. Everyone is selfish. You are my most beloved! Where are You? I have forgotten You! Come! Come! I am in a furnace! Come! Come!” Weeping, he calls, but Krsna does not come. “I am engaged in My pastimes,” Krsna says. For some time, the man then becomes absorbed in the affairs of his family and relatives, and forgets Krsna. Time passes and he cries again, “Where is My beloved Supreme Lord? Where is He?” Crying, crying. But, the Supreme Lord still does not come. Ultimately, he shouts, “I do not want a house! I do not want anything! Nobody is mine—You are mine! Oh beloved Supreme Lord! Come! Come! Come!” He cries and weeps, tossing his arms and legs about. Then Krsna cries, “Oh!” and comes to him. This sort of perturbation of the heart, extreme eagerness for getting Bhagavan, must be there.

Vamsi dasa Babaji Maharaja said only one word: “Weep!” But that single word has great significance. When we associate with the suddha bhakta who is crying for Krsna, then the eternal nature of atma will be awakened. You have love for God. Love is there in your soul. It exists, but it is presently enveloped by the external potency of the Supreme Lord and you have become averse to Sri Krsna. Passing through different species, our minds have become enveloped by so many evil desires…

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7133718686?profile=RESIZE_400xShri Mukunda Dasa, Shri Madhava Dasa and Shri Narahari Sarakara Thakura were three brothers who lived in Shri Khanda. Shri Mukunda Dasa Thakura’s son was Shri Raghunandan Thakura.

Shri Raghunandana Thakura made his appearance within this world in Shri Khanda. In his home, he became acquainted with the worship of Shri Gopinatha from an early age. One day his father, Mukunda Dasa, who was a doctor, had to go away on medical business.

He called Raghunandana to his side. He told Raghunandana to see to it that their deity was served with great care and attention. He told him to be sure and feed the deity.

At the appointed hour, taking the order of his father on his head, Raghunandan went to perform the service. He took the offering of food into the deity. Raghunandan was just a little boy. He told the deity: “Eat! Eat!” When he saw that the offering appeared untouched, he began to cry. Not being able to resist the child’s intense devotion, Krishna ate everything on the plate, leaving no remnants.

When Mukunda Dasa returned, he asked the boy, “Bring me the prasada remnants of the offering you made earlier.” The boy said, “Father, listen. I made the deity eat as you told me to. He left no remnants. He ate everything on his plate.”

Mukunda was amazed at what the child was saying. Ordering the boy to offer food as before, Mukunda hid himself outside the house and watched through the window. Raghunandana, then, with great delight, offered Gopinatha a laddu. “Eat! Eat!” he said. The Lord ate half the laddu.

Meanwhile, Mukunda, who was watching from outside, beheld all this in great amazement. He could understand that since the deity had already eaten once, and had not left any remnants, his hunger was satisfied. As a result, he could only finish half the laddu.

According to certain authorities, Shri Raghunandana Thakura was Kandarpa Manjari. According to others, he was one of Krishna’s sons in Dvaraka whose name was Kandarpa. This is on the basis of Kavi Karnapura’s Gaura-Ganodesa-dipika.

Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=87687

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